This a detailed account of Inward Bound 2015, in which I ran for Griffin Hall division 3.
First off I’ll briefly explain what Inward Bound is. Inward Bound is a navigational adventure race hosted annually by the Australian National University, only residents of the universities 8 colleges or halls are allowed to compete. The race consists of 7 divisions running varying distances, division 1 is roughly 100km and division 7 around 30km. One team per college/hall is allowed to run in each division, teams consist of 4 runners made up of two navigators and two scouts. The tricky part of the race is that you are blindfolded and driven around on a bus for hours, then dropped in the middle of the night at an unknown location in the bush and given coordinates of where the end point of the race is.
I was chosen to run in division 3 as co-navigator with Craig McConnochie as head navigator and Lachlan Smith and Kris Erb as the two scouts.
It was 4:30pm on Friday the 27th March 2015, I was busily eating as much pasta as I possibly could in preparation for the race. I knew that I’d need every ounce of energy I could get for what was to come. The next thing I knew it was 6:30pm, and myself and my teammates were checking in for the race and getting our bags checked for the necessary gear. Unfortunately Kris Erb had forgotten to pack his pants, a frantic few minutes ensued where a handy Griffin Hall member found Kris’s pants in the common room and brought them to him at the race check in. Our team was cleared and we were ready to race. Unfortunately this was when the waiting began, it seemed like hours went by as we sat and waited to be blindfolded and loaded on to buses. Finally we were climbing aboard a bus and placing our blindfolds on, I’d heard that this was the worst part of the race. I now could not agree more with that statement. That bus ride lasted 4 hours, then we were transferred into 4WD’s and driven over the roughest bumpiest dirt roads for 2 more hours.
“Blind folds off”
The command was given and the race began. Immediately our team kicked into action, Kris and Lachlan raced off to scout the area, and hopefully provide Craig and I with vital information as to our location. Using the coordinates given to us Craig and I determined that the end point of the race was on a farm nearby to Captains Flat. By studying the bush around us we were able to conclude that we were in a coastal region therefor east of the end point. When Kris and Lachlan arrived back from scouting, our team set off, we were the first team to leave. After stopping at a crossroads with a road sign, Craig determined our exact location and then plotted our route to the end point. However, during this time we were overtaken by two teams. At this point we were all pretty hyped up and set off down the hill in a mad scramble of crashing rocks and debris that quickly saw us regain the lead.
The next section of the race was along Araluen Road heading towards the small township of Araluen. Employing the tactic of running for 5 minutes walking for 3 minutes we covered a lot of kilometers and held onto our lead. It was not until fatigue set in climbing a hill that our team was overtaken, however we continued to keep moving at a steady pace.
As dawn approached and we began to be able to see in the grey light of the morning before the sun has risen, we saw the biggest obstacle of our race. It took the form of a large mountain range which had to be crossed. At this point in time we caught up to the Griffin Hall Division 4 team, we immediately joined forces and continued together. Climbing the mountain range took a lot of energy out of our team and we struggled to continue at a reasonable pace. We were covering less and less ground every hour as the day wore on.
Post race using the Inward Bound tracking tool at http://yb.tl/inwardbound2015 I was able to see that as we crossed the Shoalhaven River we were dead last in Division 3. Our team then dug deep and pushed on fast towards end point. Upon reaching the final section of bush navigation we had overtaken the team from Fenner Hall who were languishing somewhere on the wrong side of the Shoalhaven River.
Craig McConnochie once again proved his superior bush navigational skills, by guiding our team through the last section of the track 45 minutes faster then most of our Division 3 rivals. During this time we overtook two more Division 3 teams and numerous other teams in other divisions. Our team reached the end point in 5th place. We were happy just to finish, however, the added sweetener of not being last added a small gloss to the overall feeling.
I apologise for the lack of photos, due to no one in our team carrying a camera.
I’d like to thank Griffin Hall and its members for supporting us and making it possible for us to race.